View Full Version : No good deed goes unpunished........a vent

3-25-11, 11:18am
As I wrote in another thread, the downturn in the economy seems to be just now affecting us. My DH has a good business, but its recently really felt the crunch.
I no long work due to health issues. We have 2 kids in college. Fortunately, our home is paid off, but we have a home equity loan that we're using (unfortunately).

For over 20 years, we let my mother live in the condo that we lived before we moved. We felt sorry for her and let her live there for barely nothing for many years, paying her way. In the last several years before her death, we charged her the full amount of the mortgage payment, but continued to pay the maintenance fee, insurances, and utilities, which came to several hundred/mo.

After she died, we realized that the place was a mess and she didn't take very good care of it. We had to invest alot of money in it to fix it up to acceptable. We had to pay out as much money as it cost to buy it in l981. We weren't able to sell it for a year because of the poor housing market. Thankfully, during that time, the mortgage for it got paid off.....but we still had to pay maintenance fees and utilities. We figured that we broke even after selling it. (Not to mention to loss of money helping my mom out all those years).

DH just called after a visit with the accountant with our taxes, and he said we will probably owe $4,000 on the condo for capital gains. We don't have that money.
What really irks me is that we should have just let her money run out, and she would have gone on Medicaid at least 10 years sooner. We saved Medicaid alot of money by paying her way ourselves. I guess we were stupid.

Now, we have to pay even more money in taxes on this money pit. :(

And also........we couldn't even afford to take our IRA deduction this year......which means we pay more in taxes because we couldn't afford that deduction. It all seems really crazy to me. I'm bummed.

3-25-11, 11:31am
Yeah, I also learned the hard way that "helping" our parents could backfire--and I hate to sound harsh, but I was financially ruined because I agreed to cosign on a mortgage for my MIL's house, so we could pay cash for the house next door she moved into. I thought it would be a short-term thing because we were selling the house when she moved, but then the recession hit, real estate market tanked, she refused to pay the taxes on the new home, or the mortgage on the old home, or even the utilities on the home she wasn't living in ("it's not fair I should pay two electric bills" she said, as if it was fair that I had to pay two).

So, I'm 40k in debt directly related to having to hold onto the house, not including the high interest rates on the credit cards I've paid for two years, I had to empty my 401k completely and have 0 now, and she did pass away last summer also, so not sure yet where we stand tax-wise, but it probably won't be pretty.

Again, hate to say that I won't help a relative, but I CERTAINLY will not co-sign ever again, or go into debt to help again, or enable anyone's ability to do what they could do for themselves at my expense.

I'm with you, Cathy!!

3-25-11, 11:46am
Oh what a bummer catherine! I know this sounds awful, but I didn't even like my mother. I couldn't even deal with her, so DH did. He grew up in a wonderful, loving family and the idea of asking her to move seemed so cruel to him, that he just couldn't do it. I should have insisted, but was sick for many years, plus trying to raise 2 young kids......I just let it go. Well, as they say, we shouldn't cry over spilled milk, but when the milk is still spilling and getting sourer by the minute, its hard not to cry!

iris lily
3-25-11, 9:32pm
ouch, $4,000 on a property you didn't get any enjoyment out of is bad news.

But why assume that Medicaid would have paid your mother's living expenses? If she had enough income to pay the condo mortgage as you asked her to do, and she was taking care of herself, can't see how Medicaid would pay her living expenses. She wouldn't qualify.

My mother went into a nursing home and, at the time, would not have qualified for Medicare (assuming that she had no assets and low income) because she was still independant. Sort of. Well, it would have been hard to prove that she was not able to live independently. But within 2 - 3 years she was in full blown Alzheimer's and that would have qualified her for nursing home care if she couldn't pay for it herself.

Zoe Girl
3-26-11, 9:10am
So sad, I feel for you. If it helps at all i have worked with payment plans with the IRS before and it is very possible. They were pretty nice about it. Don;t put yourself in jeopardy or use more of your equity to pay it off immediatly ( I know we focus on debt free here but I would get it into a payment range that you can do it with your monthly bills so you are okay).

My kids wonder why I am so strict about what I will and won't do for them with money. My mom has offered to help my daughter but she is doign okay. She moved back home because of a crazy roomate conflict but because she kept her cool she is getting off the lease and will be protected from further craziness. As my kids grow up and out I simply don;t have very much to offer, I can share a roof over their heads but not college or just loaning/giving money. I also am very aware of the people who have helped either parents or children and now are struggling massively because they are handling the fallout on their own. One of the best things I can do for my children is be financially stable myself. I am so sorry that ended with you guys taking the financial hit.

iris lily
3-26-11, 10:26am
ZoeGirl, providing a staff and stable home for you eldest is a BIG thing. So many young people can't go "home" and have to bump along from bad living situation to bad living situation, getting into debt, risking unsafe places. Each time she comes home it gives her a chance to regroup and get straight with things.

3-26-11, 11:12am
CathyA and all , I really appreciate you sharing your story. My parents are less than responsible about money, IMHO, and I stress a bit about the what ifs of someday (they are early 60s/late 50s). They are also dealing with it with my Grandma right now. She has land she refuses to sell and won't put aside money for her funeral. It's good for someone like me who hasn't yet been in the situation to be able to hear some of these stories before it's staring us in the face.

3-26-11, 11:25am
Thanks everyone.
fidgiegirl, I feel the same way. These experiences are giving me a "heads-up" for what's in my future too. Thankfully, I talked my mother into doing a pre-arranged funeral awhile back, or that would have been even more expense.
I've mentioned this before, but while we were breaking our backs, paying for her way too, I found out later that she was donating $50-100/month to various charities for years. That hurt. She knew we were struggling. Yes, we should have helped her move into a smaller place, but at the time so much was happening in our lives, we could hardly think or breath. It would be sooooo different if I had it to do over now.....but like they say hindsight is 20/20.
Iris Lily......I guess I was thinking that if we didn't help with her living expenses, all she had was her social security and I don't think that would have been enough to live anywhere on. Or at least it would have forced her to find a smaller, cheaper place and stop giving to charities.
I know we are to blame here too. DH was drowning, trying to keep his business afloat, and I was drowning in illness and raising children. It sounds crazy, but it was easier just to pay for her stuff than figure out what to do with her.
We took good care of her, in spite of us not liking her. But......its definitely biting us in the butt now.

Zoe Girl.....thanks for the info about the payment plan with the IRS. We might just have to do that. I wonder what their interest rate is. I'm sure its not low!

Zoe Girl
3-26-11, 11:40am
I REALLY understand just picking the easier route, whew. I have teens and sometimes I just don't discipline everything cuz it is so much work for me.

Thanks everyone, I am glad that I could be helpful and that it is good to support my kids in the only way I can. The IRS interest rate is moderate but not cheap, however i wouldn't give up an emergency fund or get into debt another way considering the current economy.

3-26-11, 12:45pm
Boy, that is frustrating with respect to the financial aspects of the situation. To look at it from another viewpoint, think of the awesome karma you have accumulated by helping your mother all of those years. I am glad you are rid of the condo and can put this segment of your life to rest, but bless you for taking such good care of your mother, and I think that the good we do is always returned to us magnified, so be ready for some reall blessings to comeyour way!

3-26-11, 1:35pm
Thanks rodeosweetheart, but I have to admit, I didn't do it with a kind heart.......so I don't think I will get many good karma points. ;)

3-26-11, 3:37pm
ah, no, CathyA.......doing it when you DON'T have a kind heart, but do it anyway because it is the right thing to do, even if it hurts actually probably incurs BETTER karma. Not to worry.

It's how you act when no one is looking, when you do the right thing because it's the right thing, instead of because you love the person and want to help....THAT'S where the "rubber meets the road".

Nope....your karma probably took a few steps UP just because you did the right thing, even when your heart wasn't in it. ;-)

3-26-11, 3:48pm
I agree with LC! Definitely better karma!

Blackdog Lin
3-27-11, 8:08pm
Around 2000, I spent one entire summer (not really, just once a day or so.....), in my closet, crying, over having to deal with MIL's health and financial issues. DH was estranged from her and wouldn't deal with it, his sister was estranged and wouldn't deal with it, and his brother is handicapped. If anything was gonna get done it was up to me, so I stepped up and got s*** done..... and cried in the closet at least once a day for 3 months. BUT I DIDN'T SIGN FOR ANYTHING. Along with having a dysfunctional teenager at the time, who at this point in time is a drug-free but strange non-conventional-living young man.....

You can and will get through this, and life can and will be good again. I am living proof of this. It just sucks in the meantime. What goes around comes around, and blessings WILL come your way.....

3-29-11, 9:05am
Cathy, I've helped family members deal with the IRS and their interest rates can be quite reasonable when you are upfront with them from the beginning. They can be impossible to deal with once you are behind but they were very reasonable when someone acknowledged that they owed money and could not afford to pay all at once. Just my experience.

3-29-11, 9:24am
Thanks everyone!
Its good to know that I might still get "good Karma points" for it! :D
My heart goes out to all of you who might have to deal with situations like this.
All of your replies were definitely appreciated!

Zoe Girl
3-29-11, 4:16pm
Blackdog, you reminded me of how upset I get at those 'just do it' messages. I have had my fair share of 'just do it' moments and I have to say I was about like you. I spent months and months and really cried a lot but I got through it. I wish that the reality of 'just do it' was more realistic.